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April 11, 2014

BlackBerry ‘not leaving handset business’

Clarification from John Chen comes following Reuters report to the contrary.

By Vinod

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has emphatically denied that the troubled handset manufacturer plans to leave the smartphone market, following widespread reports to that effect yesterday.

Chen, who took over at BlackBerry in November 2013, took to the company’s official blog to clarify reports that the company would consider exiting its handset business if it remained unprofitable.

"I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon," Chen wrote.?

"I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable."

The clarification comes after Chen spoke to US news agency Reuters yesterday, which reported him as saying: "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

Although it said Chen "would not be more specific", the quote was widely reported throughout the world’s press, leading many to question the future of Chen and BlackBerry itself.

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A sale of the company to its biggest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7bn was cancelled last November, and the board also rejected proposals from Microsoft, Apple and Lenovo among several other tech firms to acquire different units of the company.

"We will do everything in our power to continue to rebuild this business and deliver devices with the iconic keyboard and other features that you have come to expect from this brand," Chen’s blog continued.

He added that BlackBerry "is not a handset-only company", and emphasised both its end-to-end solutions and investment in emerging solutions such as Machine to Machine technologies that will help to facilitate the ‘Internet of Things’.

"Rest assured, we continue to fight," he concluded. "We have not given up and we are not leaving the Devices business."

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